Between cooking channels and kitchen supply shops, it seems that every time you turn around, someone, somewhere is trying to sell you a new kitchen gadget. Think of the time you could save with an herb stripper or the amazing parties you’d throw if only you owned one of those multi-tool garnishing kits. And if you just had a sous vide cooker …
The truth is, there are only a dozen or so kitchen tools you really need to make mealtime magic. Keep clutter and cost to a minimum by focusing on those essential items you’ll use over and over again.
It’s tempting to splurge on a fancy knife set, but truth be told, you really only need one high-quality knife that’s able to perform the tasks you find yourself doing the most — like prepping avocado! A basic chef’s knife or Santoku knife is a sure bet. An excellent-quality knife will last a lifetime, so don’t skimp. Ask whether it comes with a warranty and guarantee, as well as repair and service benefits.
Both knife maintenance and knowledge keep you safer in the kitchen. Remember that a sharp knife is less dangerous than a dull one, and know the correct way to cut, slice, and dice avocado.
Forget nonstick frying pans and go old-school with a cast-iron skillet. If you’re not lucky enough to have inherited one of these as a hand-me-down from an older cook in your family, you may need to do some searching in antique shops, estate sales, or specialty retailers to find a high-quality, old-fashioned cast-iron skillet. Once you find it, though, it should last you a lifetime if you season and care for it properly. That’s a lifetime of cornbread toast with avocado spread; baja fish and guac tacos; and avocado, tuna, and green apple paninis — a life well lived!
Lots of people around the world, especially in Mexico, cook in clay pots — and for good reason. They’re one of the most versatile and foolproof kitchen tools. A clay pot can come in handy for everything from beans and meats to breads and desserts, and it’s almost impossible to overcook whatever’s inside.
Clay pots are often painted bright, beautiful colors. Even if you cook a dish in the microwave, like this show-stopping bean and avocado dip, you can use the clay pot as a serving dish. Just make sure your painted pot doesn’t contain lead and take care with how you clean it. Allow your clay pot to cure and wash it without dish soap to ensure its longevity and high performance.
Another ancient kitchen tool that has stood the test of time is the molcajete, a mortar and pestle made of volcanic rock. A fixture in practically every Mexican kitchen and the ultimate multipurpose tool, the molcajete is the traditional way to smash avocados into delectable chunks for guacamole. It can also be used to grind spices, garlic, and herbs.
Yeah, you can make guacamole using a bowl and fork in a pinch, but the molcajete is the O.G. method Mexicans have used for generations. To get the most good from your molcajete, check out the Molcajete 101 guide.
Another item not to scrimp on: a high-quality food processor or blender. Look for one with aircraft-grade stainless steel blades and high horsepower. You’ll have a much easier time pureeing guacamole sauce and avocado sauce for fish tacos and blending banana and avocado smoothies for breakfast with razor-sharp blades and ample oomph. A great processor is also handy for whipping up a quick soup such as avocado and pea soup or avocado gazpacho.
Before you pop avocados into a blender, make sure they’re properly washed. Even though you won’t be eating the skin, it’s important to make sure your produce is clean.
Like many of the other items on our list, a quality cutting board will be your kitchen companion for years, if you take care of it, and your trusty companion for chopping up scrumptious, fresh salads with avocado and avocado bowls for lunch. By investing in a good cutting board, you’ll eliminate the expense of having to replace a cheaper, poor-quality board more frequently. Wood is the best material; marble dulls knives quickly, while plastic tends to absorb odors and flavors and can’t be massaged back to newness with oils. Wood is durable and curable and can recover with regular oiling and occasional sanding.
If you’re a frustrated baker, wondering why your breads, biscuits, cakes, and cookies never turn out quite like the recipe promises, we might be able to tell you the reason: measurements. A digital scale takes the guesswork — and unpredictable results — out of baking by letting you measure your ingredients with precision. Hello, perfectly moist chocolate avocado brownies and avocado cheesecake!
A scale is also useful for calculating the nutrition content of your food. For example, one serving of avocado is 50g, or about 1/3 of a medium avocado. And in that 50g is 10% your daily recommended value of vitamin K and folate, has 80 calories and contributes nearly 20 vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
There are infinite ways to put your kitchen tools to good use. Try out a new avocado recipe tonight.
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